ROME — Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko today called on Italy to express opposition to putting weapons in space and made a clear attack on the U.S. plan for a space-based defense system.
After meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Andreotti for nearly three hours, Gromyko said in a luncheon toast:
"We do not hide that we would like to see also Italy among the countries that have raised their own voice against the takeoff of the course of armaments toward space."
The Soviet minister also said he is confident that Italy, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and one of America's staunchest allies in Europe, will be able to contribute "with concrete acts" toward making next month's U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms talks a success.
At Odds on Missiles
The Soviet Union is at odds with Italy over its acceptance of U.S-built nuclear missiles in Sicily--part of a NATO arsenal deployed in Western Europe to counter Soviet rockets in Eastern Europe.
No details of today's talks were released, but the Italian news agency ANSA said the chief topic was East-West relations in light of the opening of U.S.-Soviet arms negotiations in Geneva on March 12.